A guide to Dual Nationality and Multiple Passports

United States By Christy Lowry Mar 13, 2024

A dual nationality (or citizenship) is a legal status that means you’re a citizen of two different countries at the same time. In America, it means that you’re both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of another country, and you hold passports for both nations.

Having dual citizenship can be a great advantage. Perhaps you recently immigrated to a new country, but you still travel home frequently; with dual nationality, you can access the benefits and rights of each country. You may enjoy freedom of movement and expanded opportunities to live in either nation for education, work, and business.

However, not every country allows dual citizenship, and the rules vary among those that do. Understand the rules and nuances of applying to become a dual citizen, and decide whether it’s possible in your chosen country, and whether it’s worth any potential time and expense.

No matter what nation you belong to, you can send money to your family and loved ones, even while you’re traveling. The Western Union money transfer app is convenient and reliable, so it’s easy to transfer money between different countries and currencies.

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How to get dual citizenship

You’re automatically a citizen of the country you were born in. Your passport is tied to your citizenship, so you will hold multiple passports if you also hold dual nationalities.

The United States allows for dual citizenship whether you apply for citizenship in a country that allows it, or you’re born into it. This means that the U.S. does not require its naturalized citizens to give up their citizenship in their country of origin.

In some situations, dual citizenship can be automatically granted through birthright, such as when a child is born in the U.S. to parents who are residents of a foreign country. The child becomes a citizen of the U.S. and the birth nation that they inherit from their parents. The inverse is true for children born overseas to U.S. citizens.

Some nations require you to prove that a family member or ancestor held citizenship, and that you are a direct descendant of them. This can be an attractive option, as there are more programs today that are aimed at promoting cultural exchange between nations and those looking to honor their own roots. And in many cases, marrying a citizen of another country can lead to obtaining that country’s citizenship as well.

Advantages and disadvantages of dual nationalities

Many with dual nationalities find that they can enjoy the benefits and rights of both countries. These benefits can include obtaining green cards for family members, the right to vote in either country, or enrolling for work and school without needing a separate visa. You can also apply for public programs and financial assistance.

The advantages of dual nationalities mean that you can travel and live abroad for as long as you’d like without losing your U.S. citizenship. And unlike green card holders or permanent residents, if you live outside of the United States for over a year, you won’t need a re-entry permit in order to return.

However, the process of obtaining dual nationality can be complex and varies by country. In some cases, you may have to forfeit your original citizenship when applying to become a U.S. citizen. Major countries like China or India don’t recognize dual citizenship, and you will automatically lose your citizenship to those nations if you apply to be a U.S. citizen. Dual citizenship also comes with the chance of dual taxation in both countries.

Applying for dual citizenship is a complicated and typically expensive process that may require the expertise of an immigration lawyer to understand the requirements and legal implications. The process of obtaining any citizenship, whether you’re changing citizenship or adding dual citizenship, can cost thousands of dollars and take years, depending on your situation and how long you’ve been a permanent resident.

Multiple passports for dual nationalities

Once you become a citizen, you can apply for a passport in each country of citizenship.

Having multiple passports can come in handy to ease any travel frustrations. With multiple passports, you can avoid visa restrictions or entry/exit complications. Using different passports for different purposes can also help protect your privacy.

If you are a U.S. citizen with more than one passport, you must use your U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States—however, if you’re traveling to another country, you may use whichever passport you prefer.

Lastly, if you’re considering dual citizenship, it’s vital to know the rules and restrictions of your home and adopted countries while following the application process specific to each country. This often includes providing documentation, undergoing background checks, and paying fees.

No matter what countries you’re proud of to be a citizen, Western Union is here to make the distance feel closer. Help family members and loved ones using Western Union’s money transfer services. You can go online, download the app, or visit an agent location to send money in person.